RALEIGH, N.C. — About seven weeks into flu season, and eight North Carolinians are confirmed dead of the flu, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The flu season began on Sept. 30.
Two new flu-associated deaths were reported on the week of Dec. 9 to 15.
According to NCDHHS data, this number appears on track with with the numbers for 2017-2018 and 2016-2017 on this date.
The NCDHHS Division of Public Health announced the death on Nov. 1. The DPH will not release any identifying information regarding the person.
“Flu is always a serious illness, and in some cases can lead to complications and result in death, which is why we strongly encourage people to get vaccinated early and annually,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore in a news release.
The 2017-2018 flu season left 391 people dead in North Carolina.
That season held the highest death toll of any one flu season since 2009. Before then agencies were not required to report flu deaths.
Out of the 391 deaths, 290 were 65-years-old or older.
Seven were younger than 18-years-old.
The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get vaccinated with a licensed, age-appropriate vaccine.
The DPH reports vaccines can make flu symptoms milder and reduce the risk of serious outcomes.
This is especially important for people over 65-years-old, under 5-years-old, pregnant women and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments.